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Chinese leadership seeks maximal reform consensus

Updated: 11 11 , 2013 14:49
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BEIJING -- The much-anticipated plenary session of China's central leadership, which is expected to set the tone for the country's future development, will try to seek the maximal strength from all walks of life in order to push forward arduous reform tasks.

President Xi Jinping told a group of foreign members of the 21st Century Council in Beijing on Saturday that a blueprint of comprehensive reform will be put forward at the forthcoming Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

The meeting slated to run between Nov. 9 and 12 will unleash China's new round of reform, which is expected to steer the country into an historic turning point and transform its growth pattern.

However, the new round of reform is not only based on the growth and development situation created through China's past 35 years of opening up, but also entangled with intricate problems and conflicts brought along by its past development.

The key to the success of China's latest reform lies in whether the Party can coordinate different agendas with the strength to tackle hard issues.

During past reform, economic growth "in overdraft mode" brought about prominent imbalances and conflicts in China's development. The growth has been achieved at the heavy cost of land, energy consumption, environment and cheap labor.

As Justin Yifu Lin, former chief economist and senior president of the World Bank, put it, although comprehensive reform in an all-round way has been the largest consensus in China, risks are likely to gather to obstruct the progress of the new reform, which leaves the reformers with small leeway for maneuver.

The economist said at a forum on Sunday that China still needs to boost effective investment to shore up its economy against the backdrop of slow global economic recovery.

Compared with the social environment of reform now and 35 years ago, China's leadership has a more pressing need to seek an agenda and path for reform which can win the maximal forces of supporters. It requires a fair distribution of the reform cost and wisdom of benefit pooling which can take into account various social interests.

In recent years, a large number of "mass incidents," which involve a group of people staging a protest, have happened annually in China, as such conflicts are becoming "more varied and complicated," according to a blue book released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in December last year.

It said land expropriation and housing demolitions, environmental pollution and labor disputes have been the top three causes of mass incidents. Many of those nowadays tend to last for a longer time and are conducted on a larger scale.

The social imbalance in certain fields has rooted the conflicts. For example, China's higher education, although expanding fast in the past decade, has welcomed a smaller number of students from rural regions than it did 10 years ago.

A widening wealth gap has appeared between cities and the countryside, different regions, jobs and groups of people.

Many offenses against social order by the second generation of China's wealthy families in recent years have also demoralized the country's social working spirit. Some young talents complain that hard work can never yield the wealth they deserve, as wealth has come to be dominated by certain groups of people.

Without incorporating political restructuring into economic restructuring, social wealth can not be redistributed, and the new strength of social energy can not be invigorated.

The Chinese leadership is aware that deepening reform rather than maintaining the status quo can ensure the stability of the Party's rule, and help find solutions to all thorny issues that the government is currently facing.

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